“The heart and the brraaaainnnn…”
This phrase you hear at events during meditations may be the key to understanding how the mind can change the body and how the heart can influence the mind.
My graduate studies at the Medical College of Wisconsin (from January 1999-May 2022) focused on stress adaptation in the heart. In the mid-1980s it was discovered that small amounts of stress protected the heart from a subsequent stress that was more lethal and toxic . This concept, known as preconditioning, involves activating endogenous systems regulating kinases and protein modulators in the acute phase and altered gene response in a delayed phase. This process is also universal and can be coaxed in virtually all organs.
As we move into the final quarter of the year, it is a time to reflect on three very important things: the happenings over the past year, where we currently stand on the research, and what we have to look forward to immediately…Orlando is just around the corner as I write this! As always, our team at UC San Diego is so grateful for your support. We could not have done the immense amount of data analysis this past year without you! With your continued support, we can boldly look ahead to transform the role of meditation in healthcare and for our future research to develop deep insights into the mind-body connection.
“Publish or perish”. This phrase is learned early in academic training. It often describes the pressure researchers and academics face to continually produce and publish their work in reputable journals or other scholarly outlets to advance their careers. The concept reflects that in academia, the quantity and quality of a researcher’s publications play a crucial role in their reputation, career progression, tenure decisions, and overall success.
If you’ve been a subject in any of our recent studies, or you’ve seen one of our research presentations at an event, then you probably heard about FLIP. We are using the FLIP app to record a daily “video diary” of the research subjects’ experiences during the week-long events. The roughly 6-7 recordings from thousands of subjects serve as a unique record of the evolution of the human experience. Many describe these events as transformative, and our research aims to quantify transformation using this library as a unique way to inform and evolve the meditative practice.
Science is a never-ending process of learning and discovery. We, as scientists, are always looking for new ways to learn about the world around us and improve our understanding of the universe. This process of continuous research is what makes science so exciting and dynamic. As we look to evolve our experiments to better understand the impact of meditation on the human condition, we consider again the community that is present at the weeklong events.
As we move into the final quarter of the year, it is a time to reflect on our year of research, and what we have to look forward to in the future. As always, my laboratory at UCSD is so grateful for your support. We could not have done the amazing research this past year without you and could not look boldly ahead to transform the role of meditation in healthcare without your continued support for our future research projects;